22, rue Surcouf (7)
A paradox: A restaurant where the food is better than the restaurant and where the chef outshines in warmth, welcome and service his entire service staff put together, who are, in a word, hapless.
On a narrow Left Bank street of mostly modest restaurants. What is put on the table, and the ambition and evident experience of the chef stands out – despite the dreary and faded décor.
The chef works the room, then disappears to cook and plate the food, then reappears to serve it, then reappears again to say goodbye. The house is full- mostly French couples and groups of all ages.
How can this coexist with a staff so leaderless, sullen, graceless and inept?’
It is a reminder that good restaurants do not just get that way. It is difficult to get all of the elements in place, then to keep them in place. Here, so much is right, but not everything.
The food is quite good, and very good value. Most people seem to order the five course menu, preceded by gougeres and mackerel with mustard cream. Foie gras in cider jelly, scallops with truffles, sautéed lamb with eggplant roulade, cheese and desert. 56€, or 73€ with paired wines. A bargain.
What more to say? No one seems to be in charge of the front. Not exactly unfriendly, but no one with personality (or training, experience, supervisory skill or particular purpose). And they looked the part, including drab uniforms of untucked shirts. It was completely unfathomable, given how proud and solicitous the chef. Yet happy French fill every seat on a busy Friday night.
Extremely reasonable. Menu 56€, 73€ with wine. A la carte entrees 15 – 20€, plats 25€. Small wine list with low to medium prices.